Blue Ridge Parkway
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Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage at Doughton ParkThe Blue Ridge Parkway is a ribbon of road that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions. From Cherokee life and agricultural history to Southern Appalachian crafts and music, the Parkway’s 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina offers many ways to explore rich traditions. 

The Parkway represents a “slice” of America, and each historic site or cabin is a snapshot of one time and one place. Cultural sites here represent about one hundred years – the early decades of the nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth century. Those who planned the Parkway and its scenic views thought that the most picturesque and quaint remnants of the past were the log cabins.

In a few places, the early designers removed larger houses and replaced them with smaller rough hewn cabins, complete with reflecting ponds. Although cabins were certainly here in the early days of mountain settlement, many were covered with siding and whitewashed before too many years.

It is also important to remember that there were more homes here in the past than we see today. At places like Rockcastle Gorge, Basin Cove, and the Peaks of Otter, communities of dozens of families lived and worked. Some lived in log houses, others in framed farm houses. In some cases, natural disasters such as the 1916 flood or the Chestnut blight devastated entire mountain communities.

As you visit the Parkway, the historic sites that capture your attention reveal many broad themes of Blue Ridge history. We hope you find stories that challenge you to think about the unique Appalachian culture, defined by arts, crafts, and music that persists in the region. The Cherokee culture that has populated the region and defined much of Appalachian history for thousands of years is preserved on the southern end of the Parkway and reflected in place names throughout the region.

According to some scholars, the herbal lore, basketry, and even some forms of dancing, so much a part of “traditional” Appalachian culture, have roots in the exchange of culture when Europeans and Native Americans met on the Appalachian frontier.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to slow down, listen, and take all of the stories you hear as part of the bigger Blue Ridge story. Together, these are stories that tell us of the richness and wealth of this ancient slice of America.

Visit the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area for more information about the region's rich cultural heritage.

Cherokee Cultural Heritage

Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians honor and cultivate traditions which have guided and supported their culture for a thousand years. Balancing the modern world with these ancient traditions, the Cherokee welcome millions of visitors each year while stewarding the delicate mountain landscape that is their ancestral home

Music Heritage

Live concerts, festivals and cultural events celebrate the region’s rich musical heritage throughout the year. The Blue Ridge Music Center at Milepost 213 features instrument making, song writing history and concerts that showcase the region’s music traditions such as old-time, bluegrass, ballad singing, blues and sacred music.

Crafts Heritage

Communities along the Parkway’s 469 miles keep living craft traditions alive through a variety of galleries, shops, and events. The Folk Art Center at Milepost 382 is home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, featuring regional crafts, live demonstrations, and special events.

Agricultural Heritage

For thousands of years, Native Americans cultivated the fertile valleys along the Parkway. European immigrants brought agricultural practices with them as they settled in the mountains, but soon adopted and refined many Cherokee crops and techniques. This blending of immigrant agricultural practices with Native American traditions created a distinctive agricultural heritage. Farmers’ markets, restaurants featuring locally grown food and cultural tours along the Parkway highlight the region’s agricultural heritage.  

Natural Heritage

 Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find:

  • Some of the oldest mountains in the world
  • The highest mountain peak in the eastern United States (Mount Mitchell)
  • The oldest river in North America (New River)
  • The deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon (Linville Gorge)
  • The highest waterfall east of the Rockies (Whitewater Falls)
  • Abundant biodiversity

Calendar

<< July 2015 >>
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Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, July 2, 2015, 10:00 am

Salem Fair

Thursday, July 2, 2015, 4:00 pm

Buchanan Carnival

Thursday, July 2, 2015, 6:30 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, July 2, 2015, 7:00 pm
3

152nd Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Battle Re-Enactment

Friday, July 3, 2015, 8:30 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, July 3, 2015, 10:00 am

Independence Days at the Orchard

Friday, July 3, 2015, 1:00 pm

Salem Fair

Friday, July 3, 2015, 4:00 pm

Buchanan Carnival

Friday, July 3, 2015, 6:30 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, July 3, 2015, 7:00 pm
4

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 6:30 pm

152nd Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Battle Re-Enactment

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 8:30 am

TAP Hope Revolution 4th of July Festival

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 9:00 am

Upstairs Tour of Cone Manor

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 10:00 am

Freedom Fest

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 10:00 am

Independence Days at the Orchard

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 11:00 am

Salem Fair

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 4:00 pm

Vinton Fourth of July Celebration

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 6:00 pm

Buchanan Carnival

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 6:30 pm

Tracks Music & Dance

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 7:00 pm

Saturday Night Square Dances

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 8:00 pm

Roanoke's Fireworks on the Fourth

Saturday, July 4, 2015, 9:30 pm
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5

152nd Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Battle Re-Enactment

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 8:30 am

Orienteering Treasure Hunt

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:00 am

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:00 am

First Sunday Jazz Series

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 1:00 pm

First Sunday Jazz Series

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 1:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 2:00 pm

Salem Fair

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 4:00 pm

Songcatchers Music Series

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 4:30 pm
6

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, July 6, 2015, 10:00 am

Salem Fair

Monday, July 6, 2015, 4:00 pm
7

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 10:00 am

Salem Fair

Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 4:00 pm
8

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 10:00 am

Junior Forester Program

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 10:30 am

Salem Fair

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 4:00 pm
9

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 6:00 pm

Gettysburg Bike Week

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 10:00 am

Salem Fair

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 4:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 7:00 pm
10

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Friday, July 10, 2015, 6:00 pm

Gettysburg Bike Week

Friday, July 10, 2015

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, July 10, 2015, 10:00 am

Salem Fair

Friday, July 10, 2015, 4:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, July 10, 2015, 7:00 pm
11

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 6:00 pm

Gettysburg Bike Week

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 6:30 pm

Upstairs Tour of Cone Manor

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 10:00 am

Horse & Hound Festival

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 11:00 am

The Black Dog Arts Festival

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 12:00 pm

The Black Dog Arts Festival

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 12:00 pm

Salem Fair

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 4:00 pm

Tracks Music & Dance

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 7:00 pm

Winged Creatures of the Night Twilight Tour

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 7:30 pm

Saturday Night Square Dances

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 8:00 pm

The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 9:00 pm
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12

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 6:00 pm

Gettysburg Bike Week

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 10:00 am

The Black Dog Arts Festival

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 12:00 pm

Group Painting

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 2:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 2:00 pm

Salem Fair

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 4:00 pm

Songcatchers Music Series

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 4:30 pm
13

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, July 13, 2015, 10:00 am
14

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 10:00 am

Monthly Old Time Music Jam

Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 6:00 pm
15

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 10:00 am
16

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, July 16, 2015, 10:00 am

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, July 16, 2015, 7:00 pm
17

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, July 17, 2015, 10:00 am

Dinosaur Train™

Friday, July 17, 2015, 11:00 am

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, July 17, 2015, 7:00 pm
18

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 6:30 pm

Train History Day

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 9:00 am

Arts & Craft Market

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 10:00 am

Upstairs Tour of Cone Manor

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 10:00 am

Dinosaur Train™

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 11:00 am

6th Annual Gettysburg National Base Ball Festival

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12:00 pm

Classic Car Cruise-In

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 3:00 pm

Twilight Hike @ Peaks of Otter

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 7:00 pm

Tracks Music & Dance

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 7:00 pm

Saturday Night Square Dances

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
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19

Orienteering Treasure Hunt

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 10:00 am

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 10:00 am

6th Annual Gettysburg National Base Ball Festival

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 12:00 pm

Mountain Music Series

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 2:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 2:00 pm

Dinosaur Train™

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 3:00 pm

Songcatchers Music Series

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 4:30 pm
20

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, July 20, 2015, 10:00 am
21

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 10:00 am
22

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 10:00 am

Junior Forester Program

Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 10:30 am
23

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, July 23, 2015, 10:00 am

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, July 23, 2015, 7:00 pm
24

Grandfather Mountain Campout

Friday, July 24, 2015, 6:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, July 24, 2015, 10:00 am

Dinosaur Train™

Friday, July 24, 2015, 11:00 am

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, July 24, 2015, 7:00 pm
25

Grandfather Mountain Campout

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 6:00 pm

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 6:30 pm

Upstairs Tour of Cone Manor

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 10:00 am

Dinosaur Train™

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 11:00 am

Tracks Music & Dance

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 7:00 pm

Saturday Night Square Dances

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 8:00 pm
<W
26

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 10:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 2:00 pm

Dinosaur Train™

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 3:00 pm

Songcatchers Music Series

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 4:30 pm
27

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, July 27, 2015, 10:00 am
28

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 10:00 am
29

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 10:00 am
30

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Peak Perfection Vintner Dinner

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 6:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 7:00 pm
31

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, July 31, 2015, 10:00 am

Dinosaur Train™

Friday, July 31, 2015, 11:00 am

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, July 31, 2015, 7:00 pm
 

Highlights & Happenings

  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by indust
  • Blue Ridge Music Center
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any o
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • These high elevation summits are home to spectacular floral displays. June and July are usually prime times to view the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron, but don’t despair if you miss the peak bloom. Violets, blackberry, May-apple, a
  • Cumberland Knob, MP 217.5
  • Located near the Virginia state line, Cumberland Knob is the site where construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935. It was the first recreation area opened to the public and remains a favorite destination for both locals and visitors. The m
  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Visitors traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway can now make one stop to learn about the entire 469 miles and 73-year history of the Parkway. The Parkway Visitor Center opened in 2008 and unveiled innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The LEED-certif
  • James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
  • At the lowest elevation along the Parkway, visitors can hike, camp, fish, have a picnic, and see restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
  • Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2
  • These Parkway treasures offer many opportunities for visitors including hiking, camping, picnicking, and one of the most-photographed structures along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Civil War Sesquicentennial
  • 2015 marks the 150th year anniversary of when the last shot east of the Mississippi was fired during the Civil War, which rang out in present-day Waynesville.
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 66th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
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